Olmstead Loop

Technical Level:    Beginner
Strenuous Level:    Intermediate minus
Altitude Gain:        Around 800 feet
The Ride:              9 mile loop
Where:                 Cool California (near Auburn)
When:                  All year, but its really hot in the summer
 

To get There:

 Map marking Trail Head
From Sacramento:  Take Interstate 80 North towards Auburn.  Follow the signs to highway 49 South.  You will twist through town, and its easy to miss a turn, so pay close attention to the signs. At the edge (literally) of town, 49 drops into the American River Valley.  Its kinda cool, one second you are in the middle of this town, and the next you're falling off the edge of the earth on a really steep curvy road.  Its a couple really curvy miles past Auburn to the bottom of the canyon.  This is called the "confluence".  When you get to the bottom, you will see the river to your right.  Turn right and follow 49 across the river at the T intersection.  Look to your right, and you'll see "No Hands Bridge".  Follow 49 back up the river canyon.  When you get to the top of the canyon, you will enter Cool.  Neat name huh?  The trail starts behind the fire department on your right in Cool.  Check out the bulletin board there with some info about the trail.
 

The Ride

The trail is a loop that starts and ends behind the fire station.  The trail loops to the west of 49, towards the proposed Auburn Dam.  This is a hiking, horse riding, and mountain biking trail, so watch out for the horses!  Apparently, this was one of the first shared trails around, and has been a great successful.  For this trail to continue to be open to mountain bikers, we have to be really nice to the horse riders (and their horses).  Horses can get spooked very easily by bikes, so give them plenty of room when you pass.  If you are going to pass a horse from behind, let the rider know you are passing so he or she can keep the horse from getting spooked.
Critical Turns:  Well, there's a lot of turns.  I thought some of the markings were a little unclear, but I still figured it out.  There are lots of trials that join this one, but most of them are not legal for cycling.  If you want to take an option with a good climb, follow the trail that is marked "Auburn Dam".  This will take you to the proposed Auburn Dam (which hopefully will never be built).  You can ride all the way down to the American River on this trail.

The Trail

This trail is a great beginner trail.   There is a good climb in the back of the trail, but you can always walk if gets too steep.  There isn't anything very technical so beginners shouldn't have any trouble.  For advanced riders, its a sprint, I suppose a good rider could average 15-20 on the trail (and maybe more).  If  you haven't done much mountain biking, this a good starter!  A rider in good physical condition may want to hit the olmstead loop and then go ride the clementine loop and stagecoach trail.
 

Trail Details:

 Sunrise/Sunset
 Weather